Ratbones – Pop Experience

Ratbones are a ramones-core punk rock band from Genova, Italy. They list their interests as The Ramones, and only the Ramones!! You can definitely hear that interest and influence in their music. The Ratbones released their newest EP in April of 2017 titled “Pop Experience.” The EP was released on I Buy Records and Monster Zero Records.

“Pop Experience” is a 4 track EP with a great old school punk rock sound and vibe to it. It the tradition of old school punk, the songs are short and sweet, but just long enough to grab your attention and cause you to crave some more. The first track Storm in My Mind to me has a bit of a Dee Cracks Killed my TV Set sound to it before the vocal kick in. The all around recording of the EP has the sound of a live recording to some extent, while still being very well put together.

Having to recently come across the Ratbones, despite the fact they have been around since 2003, it was a pleasant surprise to see a guest vocalist on their song Dyna, the guest vocalist being Jimmy Vapid. This EP packs a punch and definitely will have me digging deeper into the other music that the Ratbones have out there, eager to hear what I have been missing out on.

If you are a fan of Ramones-core punk rock, or punk rock in general be sure to give the Ratbones a listen. I think you will find yourself pleasantly surprised. I would love to see these guys on tour in the U.S. sometime in the near future, I imagine their live shows would be a great time.


Ratbones Page


Proton Packs – Conspiracy 66

So, for the past week or so I have been listening to a band from Siena, Italy named Proton Packs. The album I have been listening to is their third lp, it was released on Moms Basement Records in the US and Commando Records in Italy. It is a very catchy album with a conspiracy/ espionage theme. The album is called “Conspiracy 66.”

I personally find the album is very well written in the way of lyrics and music. It is not going to be that album of the year that kicks your teeth in with an in your face fast paced aggression by no means, which is one of my favorite features of the album. It is nice to hear a punk band with a nice laid back approach every now and then, but still with the attitude and conviction in the music. That says a lot about a band and in my opinion shows a great maturity.

Proton packs with no doubt follow the old school punk rock manual of songwriting with the songs be short sweet and to the point. The songs clock in at 3 minutes or making them just long enough to get your attention but no so long that you lose interest before it ends. Listening to their third lp “Conpriacy 66” has made me wonder how I have not heard of these guys before now, they are really good and I look forward to catching up on their past two lp’s for sure in the very near future.

So, if you are looking for good punk rock album to kick back and enjoy be sure to grab yourself a copy of Proton Packs “Conpiracy 66”. I think this is a great album to check out and give a chance. Awesome to hear such great music coming out of Italy, they are definitely producing some killer bands over there right now.

The Gunboat Diplomats – Fine State of Affairs

The Gunboat Diplomats are a song shop in Florida composed of songwriters, musicians and vocalists recording pop rock music with a vintage vibe. They have recently completed their first project entitled “Fine State of Affairs.” I have been listening to this album now for a month give or take. I will first start off by saying that it is a very well recorded album. Also, the musicianship is amazing with such a wide array of instruments and styles.

This is definitely a very catchy album and every song varies so much from the one before. The vocals are all over the board, and I am not saying that is a bad thing, but very different none the less. The first two tracks had me thinking I was listening to a Tom Waits album, then into track 3 in which the vocals reminded me of a Tori Amos track or maybe even Evanescence. Then you move along and find tracks that border Elvis Costello. Music wise I got a lot of similarity to a Barenaked Ladies album as well.

I truly have to say, although this would not be my choice I love this album due to the fact that every track is like a breath of fresh air. As someone who’s ipod playlist jumps all over the board it was quite refreshing to have one album do that!!! I am not a fan of every song on the album but there is not a song I completely hate either. This is an album that definitely deserves a listen if your a fan of power pop, blues rock, jazz, island troubador, and quite a few other genres. Sit back and get comfortable. Enjoy something a little different and indulge.

Brian Hardy and The Dynamic Duo – Road To Gotham

On March 1st, 2017 Brian Hardy and The Dynamic Duo released their record “Road To Gotham.” This is a fun catchy punk rock album with a very acoustic sound to it. It is a concept album of sorts in which all of the songs tie into the Batman theme.

Now, this isn’t going to be the in your face party album of the year by any stretch. This album possesses a much lighter side. The music is great and catchy and the lyrics I find are very original. I myself have not heard a complete album written solely about Batman and other characters from Gotham. That in itself was pretty awesome and grabbed my attention, making me want to hear it all the way through.

I would have to say the stand out song on the album would have to be track 4, “Riddle Me This.” This track is the one that will for sure have you bobbing your head along and finding it hard not to join in and sing along. Although, the lyrics throughout the whole album are very simple and easy to sing along with. It has a nice pace to it, not to fast, not to slow. In old school punk rock fashion, all of the songs on this album are also under 3 minutes!!!!!

Definitely worth giving a listen, I think this will be an album that will be appreciated more by a certain demographic of fans much more than others. All around a great sounding record so have a listen and show some love.Brian Hardy Bandcamp

Idle Shades – The Time is Now

Coming out of the Youngstown, Ohio music scene is a 3 piece band often labeled as a Punk band, though I’m not sure I would throw them solely into that genre. The Idle Shades are a fun, fast paced, in your face straight up rock and roll band, with no label needed in my opinion. Their second album “The Time Is Now” shows a lot of growth in their songwriting and their chemistry as a band. These guys have been a favorite of mine to see live for years now, and I feel it shows through on this new album.

Idle Shades have a very strong core in the drumming you hear in their songs. Very precise and it stands out in just about every track. I am also a huge fan of the song lyrics. Just like on their first album “Picture Perfect,” you can hear the emotion and the conviction in the songs on “The Time Is Now” which helps to draw you even deeper into their music, or at least for me. This is a 3 piece band with a big sound that is hard to find in even band consisting of more musicians. These 3 guys possess a lot of drive and talent and it shows through in their album and as well in their live shows. If you have yet to listen to Idle Shades, what the hell are you waiting for. Get your hands on a copy of their new album and start enjoying some real rock and roll people!!

Idle Shades Bandcamp

Idle Shades Facebook

Greg Graffin – Millport

So, do you all remember a little band called Bad Religion? This is definitely one of their records. Greg Graffin has released a new solo album, “Millport” in March of 2017. This album is not what I went in expecting from the longtime memeber of punk rock band Bad Religion. This album shows a whole other side of Greg Graffin, a few of them to be exact.

I was caught off guard right from the start with the opening track on the album “Backroads of my mind” which sounds as if the long time punk rocker had decided to try his hand at country music. Yes, I said country. If you are like me that alone has your mind confused and longing for answers.  It was something very different and hard to swallow for me, but I pressed on and proceeded to listen through the rest of the album. The next couple of songs had a very folkish sound to the music, almost as if Graffin was listening to a lot of Bob Dylan at the time. Take it or leave it depending on your own music preference. Still a very weird feel for me.

As if the first four track on this album didn’t give me enough of a surprise in Graffin’s music choice for the album, I just so happened to make it to the fifth track on the album entitled “Time of Need.” This song starts out and carries all the way through with a gospel music sound and feel, baring the anti-gospel lyrics of course. I knew right then and there that this record all around was one hell of a music journey I had not expected. With that said, I will admit that through more than half the album I did have my foot tapping and my head bobbing. Put me in the mood for a big ole mason jar of moonshine!!

Now, while the music itself had me at a loss, I want to say that the songwriting is still up to par with what I’d expect from an aging Greg Graffin. The angst may have been checked at the door but  the intelligent and compelling storytelling remains intact. I will say this is an album that anyone with a true appreciation for music of all genres should give a listen to even if only the two or three times. I have a feeling for a lot it will grow on you over time. I guess this is just what you get from an aging punk rocker who finds that time and age triumph the angst when it is all said and done.


Latte+ – Stitches

On February 23, 2017 Latte+ released their full length album “Stitches” on Outlook records. Latte+ is a ramones-core punk band coming out of Florence, Italy. I had heard the name in some chatter but had never actually had the chance of listening to any of their music. So “Stitches” was my first introduction to the band. Going into this album I had the usual skepticism I do when first listening to any band that is considered Ramones-core, because come on, The Ramones are a rather big band to be compared to, especially in the punk rock genre.

I have listened to this album from beginning to end countless times. What I found was an album that definitely earns Latte+ the honor to be called a Ramones-core band. This album is one of the best punk rock albums I have heard in quite some time. With the in your face take no prisoners type style and songs such as  the first track “Chin up, Chest Out” which just sounds and has the feeling of a fuck your rules and get out of my way type feel. To the catchy tune of “I’m Gonna Kick You In the Ass.” A song that you can’t help but sing along to while you imagine that one guy at work whom you daily fantasize about kicking in the ass if not something more brutal.

In a Ramones type fashion Latte+ also has their fun care free songs that just make you smile and enjoy the care free attitude and stop taking life so seriously. Probably my favorite of these songs on the album would have to be the second track, “Everybody Listens to The Ramones Even My Mom.” It is just a fun well written track with very catchy lyrics and music to back it up.

If you are truly a fan of the genre, and even if you aren’t, grab a copy of this album and give it a good listen. If you are able to listen to the title track “Stitches” without singing along or at least humming along to it, then you are most likely tone def. This goes for the entire album. This is an album that will definitely be in rotation on my ipod for quite some time. I anxiously await to see what the future holds for these Italian punk rockers. Until then, show some love for Latte+ and Outloud Records!!!!!